The parents of 9-year-old Bethany Wilcox from Southend have vowed to take their fight for justice ‘all the way’ after she was taken into care by local child protection officers on Wednesday.
According to Jack and Emma, the officers arrived with police backup to serve a court order relating to child cruelty charges. They have been accused of changing the WiFi password after Bethany refused to tidy her bedroom, and her schoolteacher reported the incident as a safeguarding concern to the local authority.
A spokesperson for Southend Child Monitoring said: ‘Whilst we are unable to comment on individual cases that are ongoing, we can confirm that our officers attended an address in Southend On Sea to serve a Child Relocation Order over a potential human rights violation.’
Jennie Schmeck is Lead Partner at Schmeck and Pecker Family Solicitors in Southend, and she told Southend News Network that her parents may have difficulties if the case is heard at court.
She said: ‘The emotional distress caused by cutting of a child’s Internet access can easily be interpreted as child cruelty or child neglect, and this is especially true when a child is nine years old.’
‘At this stage of his life, access to social media, video streaming service and apps play a fundamental role in educational, social and emotional development, and changing the WiFi password as a punishment would have caused a great deal of sudden distress to a child.’
‘Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) can have disastrous consequences for a young child, and child psychology studies have proved that FOMO at this age can progress into psychotic behaviour in adulthood. 80% of people charged during the London Riots of 2011 told researchers that their parents had ‘grounded’ them at some point and banned them from using MSN Messenger.’
‘Ashley’s parents could have ended up with blood on their hands.’